Cardiff, Wales: 1940s.
Hardcover. Oblong quarto. Measuring 11" x 8". String-tied brown leather over paper boards. Contains 347 sepia toned or black and white gelatin silver photographs measuring between 1¼" x 1¼" and 7" x 9", with captions and related ephemera. Album is very good with worn edges and tears on the tissue guards with near fine photographs with occasional creasing.
A photo album kept by a pilot while working for Air Dispatch, Ltd. out of the United Kingdom beginning in the late 1930s, many focusing on the war years, and with a few later photos from the 1950s. The company specialized in shipping goods as well as providing special charter planes out of the Airport of London in Croydon and Heston Airport in Middlesex, and also from a hub in Cardiff, Wales. The album shows a variety of different planes with captions listing the type of vessel and the date that the photo was taken. The compiler also documented numerous crashes, as well as planes that were used by famous aviators of the time including Amy Johnson's Percival Gull aircraft with Johnson barely visible in the background. Johnson had just set a racing world record on a trip to South Africa. The album shows take-offs and landings, as well as mid-flight photographs taken from both the ground and while flying. One photo of a German plane with a swastika on the tail which reads, "Sept. 1st 1939 on the last regular scheduled airline run by Seutche Luft Hansa before the outbreak of war." One page shows the process of repairing a plane from a severe crash in 1940.
Many of the planes in the early 1940s were involved in the war effort and the airports were used to repair and refuel before the next mission. A French Potez 63-11 plane is featured here after being "shot down near Eastbourne after a German raid on London Sept. 1940." Later a similar plane is seen that was part of a Free French Air Force. There are also wonderful aerial photos from the skies over England and the Channel. One photo reads, "cargo boat in mid-Channel from 2000 ft. Dec. 39;" another reads, "Croydon control tower seen while coming in to land 1939." A photo of Hawker Hurricane aircraft in a V-formation reads, "hurricanes over Wallington February 1941." The Hurricane, while often overshadowed by the Spitfire, was an important part of the British victory during the Battle of Britain. Many of the German planes at the base are referred to as "junkers." Laid-in are some larger photos measuring 6.5" x 8.5" of aircraft and one of the pilots of the Channel Islands Airways. Also present are a pad of unused "store requisitions" forms, a 1956 customs inquiry, a Rolls-Royce aircraft engine advertisement, and a charter plane advertisement.
A rich and extensive look at the war time efforts of a merchant airline company.